Lucy Garner successfully defends World junior road race title
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Lucy Garner successfully defends World junior road race title

by Ben Atkins at 10:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, World Championships
 
2011 winner emulates Nicole Cooke as race finishes in bunch sprint

lucy garner

Great Britain’s Lucy Garner has done what only her compatriot Nicole Cooke had managed before her, and successfully defended her junior women’s road race World title. The 18-year-old - who had celebrated her birthday the day before - sprinted to victory at the head of a 21-strong group that was all that remained of the peloton that had shattered on its fifth ascent of the legendary Cauberg climb.

Norway’s Eline Brustad finished second behind the British rider, ahead of Italy’s Anna Stricker, after the Italian team had tried to split the peloton on the final lap.

“I was nervous before the race, as always, but the course really suited me,” said Barker after the race. “We trained a lot in these surroundings to get ready for the hills. Especially the Cauberg, which I could take very well. This win is a team effort more than anything. The lead out Elinor [Barker - the new junior time trial champion] gave me was fantastic.

“I’m definitely going to try and make it to the elite ladies,” she added. “It would be nice if Sky had a team for women. Women’s cycling is more and more popular; you can see it right here in Valkenburg.”

An extra lap sees an attritional race end in a sprint finish

An extra lap of the 16.5km circuit was added on the day before the race, lifting the race distance from 66km to 82.5km. This was to be the first race to be run on the World championship loop, based on the climbs of the Bemelerberg at half way, and the Cauberg just 1.7km from the finish.

First lap crash involving Dutch favourite Demi de Jong and Belgian Lotte Kopecky saw Lithuanian Zavinta Titenyte abandon the race. Despite a high pace, the peloton stayed largely together, but the attritional nature of the hilly circuit saw the weaker climbers steadily trickling off the back.

There were solo attacks from a number of riders in the midsection of the race, including moves from Alexandra Nessmar of Sweden and Anastasiia Iakovenko of Russia, but nobody was able to escape the peloton.

On the penultimate climb of the Cauberg, at the end of lap four, the peloton split into several pieces as a group of 27 riders moved ahead of the rest. The race reformed in the final lap however and, with the Italians, Belgians and Russians in control, a group of around 50 riders arrived at the foot of the Cauberg for the final time.

The Cauberg proved to be decisive again however, with only 21 riders able to stay with the pace set at the head of the race. Garner was in the group, along with Great Britain teammate Barker and, as the finish line approached, the newly crowned World junior time trial champion took to the front to lead out the defending road race champion.

As Garner opened up her sprint she pulled clear in a manner reminiscent of compatriot elite men’s champion Mark Cavendish, and crossed the line several lengths clear of the battle for silver.

A crash to the left of the road saw the Netherlands Janine van der Meer come down, along with Mexico’s Erika Varela and Kopecky again, with the Belgian forced into the barriers. This was well away from those sprinting for the medals down the centre of the road however, with Brustad the far stronger.

Result Junior Women’s Road Race World Championship
1. Lucy Garner (Great Britain)
2. Eline Gleditsch Brustad (Norway)
3. Anna Zita Maria Stricker (Italy)
4. Sophie Williamson (New Zealand)
5. Jessy Druyts (Belgium)
6. Rasa Pocyte (Lithuania)
7. Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spain)
8. Cecille Uttrup Ludwig (Denmark)
9. Emily Roper (Australia)
10. Alicja Ratajczak (Poland)

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